Graduate School names Preston associate dean for graduate educational equity

May 13, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Stephanie Danette Preston has been promoted to associate dean for graduate educational equity in the Graduate School at Penn State, effective April 1. 

As associate dean for graduate educational equity, Preston serves on the Council of College Multicultural Leadership, which is comprised of multicultural leaders responsible for college-wide leadership, coordination, development, and implementation of programs and policies that enhance the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups.

Stephanie Danette Preston promoted to associate dean

Stephanie Danette Preston

IMAGE: Penn State

Preston also serves as chief diversity officer for graduate education at Penn State and oversees the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs in the Graduate School, which coordinates the Big Ten Academic Alliance Summer Research Opportunities Program at Penn State, the Ronald P. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, the Penn State STEM Open House, and the Alfred P. Sloan Scholars Program. 

“I am very pleased to announce Dr. Preston’s promotion to associate dean for graduate educational equity," said Regina Vasilatos-Younken, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. “Through effective leadership and a passionate commitment to the highest standards of excellence, Dr. Preston has advanced the programs and initiatives within her portfolio to increasingly higher levels of achievement. Her first priority is, and always has been, to provide unconditional support to students who are pursuing their academic goals and professional interests at Penn State. She personifies the values and ideals which have long characterized Penn State as a student-centered University. Dr. Preston is regarded as a role model for students, an ever-accessible resource to her colleagues, and an outstanding ambassador for Penn State."

Preston began her Penn State career in August 2009 as assistant director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. After completing a postdoctoral program, she was appointed senior director of the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs in the Graduate School in 2013, and promoted to assistant dean in June 2017. 

Preston has administered, coordinated and evaluated comprehensive recruitment programs and retention activities that enhance the professional development of underrepresented graduate students. Preston also serves as a consultant to the Educational Testing Service.

In 2017, Preston was selected as one of two recipients of the National Faculty Mentor of the Year Award by the Sloan Foundation and the Southern Regional Education Board.

Preston is the current president of the Forum on Black Affairs at Penn State and serves as an adviser to the Black Graduate Student Association, while also supporting a number of other student groups on campus.

Preston completed her doctoral degree at Penn State in curriculum and instruction in science education. Her graduate research focused on the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities and women in STEM fields.

She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (science education) at Xavier University of Louisiana. A native of Louisiana, Preston taught high school biology, chemistry, and human anatomy and physiology in New Orleans.

Last Updated June 19, 2019